Category Archives: Mason CIty

Patiently Waiting

Patiently Waiting-1This week has been one I’ll remember as my “git-er-done” week while thinking back to tSunday and the amount of real honest to goodness progress I’ve made thus far in getting all those little un-done things that I’ve been meaning to do actually do for weeks.  Most of them regarded chores outside my real estate world.  You’ve heard the saying, “A cobbler’s children go shoeless”, “A baker’s children go bread-less”, and “A fisher’s children go hook-less”, well it’s sort of that way with every profession to where you know exactly what to do, but continue to set your own needs aside so to fulfill those of others.

Wasn’t it the weirdest weather today?  Oh Mercy!  The humidity level must’ve been right around 100%.  Today’s air was the thickest I’ve encountered for a very long time.  I heard some of the Counties north of us had strong winds.  When it gets so muggy out, the first thing I think of is either a tornado or severe thunderstorms on the horizon.

Later this afternoon I received a call from one of my clients regarding a tradesperson I referred her to, and was shocked when she told me how much he wanted to do two small jobs.  Unbeknownst to him, a large red flag went up on his name and phone number, and I’ll likely never give his name and number to anyone again.  What he quoted her was over double what he would’ve normally charged.  This is yet one more reason why our seniors are backing away from having work done.  There are greedy tradespeople who see that they’re old, where they live, and the nice things they have, and likely think to themselves, “Oh, I’m gonna charge more because you’re old and have money.”  And people wonder why many of our elderly are becoming all the less trusting of others.  I apologized profusely for even mentioning his name. Another lesson learned.

There were three showings at Prairie Place on 1st today, and it looks like the momentum has begun.  I smile to myself when knowing how many of the elderly in North Iowa have their own network of news.  I’ve always known it, but I’ve really been brought up to speed in how quickly it travels to so many.  I’m sure there’s much information being shared every Sunday after all of our North Iowa church services are over, and now I’m sure the word is out regarding how well built and affordably priced Prairie Place on 1st is after the whole at the whole package. My customer said today, “I like these units a lot, but also consider them a good investment for the future.”  That one statement told me she’s got a good head on her shoulders.

Late this afternoon I paid a visit to a home where the sellers are getting it ready for the market.  I was quite surprised how much larger it is than what’s visible from the curb.  These next few days I’ll be doing some market analyzing so I can give them a ball park figure they can expect to get for it when it’s listed.  An old client stopped by my office today just to say “hi” along with informing me he’s fallen head-over-heels with metal detecting.  I asked him what the most cherish thing he’s found thus far.  He thought a moment or two and replied, “I think it’s the 1898 indian head penny I found that was about six inches underground.  I laughed and said, “Yes, and he was patiently waiting there likely over a hundred years for you to come and find him.”  I love hearing stories of such finds because I know it’s never just the find, but the work and anticipation of finding something special;  even if it’s a lowly a penny with the head of an indian on its face.

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Ignorance is NOT BlissNow that I’ve finished a whirlwind week, I was able to get caught up on a number of things that were crying for my attention. After about three hours of non-stop focus, I did manage to get the bulk of my administrative chores finished. It’s always a relief to be able to walk away from fully completed files and hopefully never have to look back.

A great number of years ago I worked under a broker who seemed to enjoy working in chaos. She’d have un-closed files piled everywhere which created a scenario to where which ever transaction was the hottest, would be the one that would be found and focused upon. The most unfortunate thing for me was that there was nearly always an open door between us, and if a customer of mine would walk in my door and happen to look thru hers, there’d always be a questioning look towards me. It’s amazing how in such greatly different ways, some people manage to get their work completed.

Last week someone was telling me an unfortunate story about one of their family members having unknowingly been exposed to the juice/sap of wild parsnip and now suffering topical burns from it. I can only imagine the pain that poor individual is going thru as I speak.

Now I’ll bring you up to speed with wild parsnip “burns”. Wild parsnips contain chemicals called psoralens which causes what dermatologists refer to as, “phyto-photo-dermatitis”, which mean an inflammation of the skin induced by a plant with the help of the sun. When these psoralens are absorbed by the skin, they’re energized by ultraviolet light which is present during both sunny and cloudy days. The UV light causes them to bind with nuclear DNA and cell membranes. This whole process which takes a little time to create visible damage, but when fully kicked-in, destroys cell and skin tissue giving us the end result of full-fledged burns.

Over these past 5 – 10 years, I’ve noticed how widespread/invasive wild parsnip has been. There’ve been numerous warnings by me to people who’re out weed-whacking and mowing areas which may contain either or both wild parsnip and Queen Anne’s lace, which can create the same type of burn but in a lesser degree.

While driving this past week down 12th St. NW out near Eisenhower Ave., I noticed huge stretches of wild parsnip in the ditch on the left side of the road, and another long stretch of Queen Anne’s lace on the right side. It’s even growing right under our noses in our Historic Downtown! I did manage to get rid of the Queen Anne’s lace that was quietly propagating in my office block back at the Commercial Alley side. So please, learn to recognized both of them, and diligently, but carefully get rid of them. Both are considered an invasive plant by our great State of Iowa.

For as long as I live, I’ll never forget the permanent scars I saw on a man’s arms and legs which were caused by burns while he was innocently weed-whacking a patch of wild parsnips growing on his acreage. Unfortunately he was wearing a short sleeve shirt and shorts, so his legs and arms bore the brunt of being juiced up by thoseweed-whacked plants.

Isn’t this but one more example of how ignorance is NOT bliss? The above photo is one I took of Queen Anne’s lace in bloom some time ago.

Out in the Trenches

Out in the Trenches-1After an exceptionally busy week, today finally seemed back in the realm of normalcy to where I could get bills paid, correspondence sent out, and follow-up calls made.  By the time mid-afternoon arrived, I considered myself caught up and ready for the weekend.

Tomorrow will be the first time in a number of years where I’ll be hosting two public open houses in one day.  After looking at my normal Saturday morning schedule, I figured I could sacrifice another two hours for an additional open house.

The first one I’ll have open is my new listing at 1031 – 10th St. NE which offers many sought after features such as, it’s a ranch, it offers 3 bedrooms, has a main floor den/family room, and an attached double garage. It also has steel siding, a basement rec room, and a big enough yard for a garden.  To top it all off, anyone looking to be closer to Nature, this is the place to be.   Across the street is a natural area which attracts wild turkeys and other wildlife which can be seen wandering about regularly.  I hope to have a good crowd from 10:00 a.m. till Noon.

The second open house tomorrow is located at 1202 – 2nd St. NE which is right next to the Winnebago River.  Every time I’m out there I feel as though I’ve just been teleported to a nature preserve.  The sellers just today gave me the go-ahead to reduce the price to $110,000.00 which should certainly spur some good buyer interest. First off, this home is NOT in the flood district.  It offers a newer kitchen that’s roomy enough for some serious cooking, a main floor family room with a fireplace and sliding doors to a deck, and of course views, views, and more views of the Winnebago.  There’s something primeval about bodies of water for us humans.  It’s almost as if it’s an internal calling to some sort of beginning for us all.  Have you ever checked the recent prices of lakeshore homes in Clear Lake?  Those prices alone should give any buyer the incentive to invest in this home.  I’ll be there from 1:00 – 3:00 pm., and if you can’t find me in the house, I may possibly be down at the riverbank.

A very many months ago I spoke about how I don’t believe good teachers are getting paid enough.  Well today, I happened to skim over the posted salaries of Mason City’s School District.  I’m really wishing now I hadn’t recognized a number of the names and salaries posted.  There is one particular person whom I’ll not mention who’s getting paid way more than I would have ever dreamed possible.  The shock for me when seeing that salary was knowing too well that person is not a teacher, has no college degree, and is not in administration.  It’s a far too no-brainer job to be afforded such a high salary.

No one will ever be able to convince me that school administration staff is worth as much as they’re getting paid.  The real “out in the trenches jobs” are being held by the teachers who as far as I’m concerned, have to endure far more from students, parents, and administration for what they’re getting paid on a yearly basis.  Ok, I’m finished with my gripe, but I do hope there’ll be some visibly good re-arranging of salaries and priorities within Iowa’s school districts.

Curtain Rising for Prairie Place

320 1st St NE-4Even though you’d think everyone looks at the simplest of situations similarly, the cold reality sets in to where you step back, turn, and walk away from someone saying, “Whoa!  From what plain of reality did you cross over?”  Yes, it’s a wonderment sometimes how we humans manage to co-exist with such radical mindsets in our midst, and unfortunately, they seem to be the ones who scream the loudest.

I mention this after having encountered someone again today who’s completely and utterly all about himself.  I was supposed to get some documents returned, and when I asked about them again, he changed the subject on me.  Not being in the best of moods for a side-stepping conversation, I said again, “You didn’t give me those docs which you assured me I would have over two days ago.”  Another feeble promise was made and likely won’t materialize.  He hasn’t yet realized that the more he remains a cog in the wheel, the more likely he won’t get the home he wants and then I’ll be the bad guy.

While at the grocery store today I ran into an old client whom I’ve done some work for in the past.  He’s retired and certainly enjoying his golden years due to his careful planning for them.  What interests me the most about him is his fearlessness in regards to his travels to exotic places that most of us only read and/or dream about.

From previous conversations with him, I knew he’s traveled the Orient on a regular basis, but today I found that he’s gone for six months a year.  Seems he’s found families in different countries who take him in as a full-fledged guest for those six months, and it has worked greatly for the number of years he’s been doing it.  Today he told me a story about having spent some time with a retired North Vietnamese soldier who fought for the other side during the war in Viet Nam.  The photos he freely shared of those years were from a different perspective which was a real eye-opener for my client.

Just before we broke off our conversation, I said, “I’m sure you’ve found in your long term stays with those families that it’s less dangerous there than it would be living with families in certain areas of our Country.”  I was saddened when he replied, “You’re right, and believe me, some areas of Mason City are far more dangerous than what I’ve ever experienced while living in those Oriental communities during my six month stretches.”  I soulfully couldn’t help but agree with him which made it all the more saddening.

As I promised yesterday, I have five new condominium listings that I can now share with you.  They are located at 320 – 1st St. NE here in Mason City.  I took as many photos as I felt necessary to give the general public a clear view of what Prairie Place on 1st has to offer.  As I’ve told people in the past, “If I can see myself living in a residence I have listed, then it’s all the easier for me to sell.” Click on the following link to my website showing my new listings.  It’s a virtual curtain rising for Prairie Place on 1st.

320 – 1st St. NE Listings…

1031 – 10th St. NE

1031 10th St. NE-12There were a few highlights to my day which I felt worth sharing with you all.  I’m sure you’ve all had similar happenings where you go somewhere to perform a task, and along the way or back, you find yourself in the midst of a delightful intervening circumstance.  For me they’re not normal occurrences, but today must’ve been extra special to where I experienced two.

The first happened as I was leaving out of a home after a pro bono “value added service” I had just provided.  I was walking to my car and happened to notice a gentleman whom I’d not seen in a very long time out playing with his young family in his backyard.  Considering I had enough spare time for a chat, I walked across the street while whistling after him.  He turned and motioned for me to go on back.

Several years ago I heard that he now has two young children, but I didn’t think much of it until I was encountered by two cherubic faces. One belonged to a three year old, and the other of a four to five-ish age. They looked all the more like little rascals seeing they’d must’ve been eating chocolate earlier when seeing all the smears around their mouths.   The father and I were busy playing a bit of catch-up while the kiddies were busy doing comical things for attention.  The little three year old was wanting the most attention,  but too shy to communicate with me, or even get close.  We spent about twenty minutes in general conversation about life, the state of our country, the world, and lastly, about how greatly our planet  has been evolving of late.

He seemed concerned about the future for his children which caused me to say before I left, “I’m convinced there are big changes ahead for us, but as long as we take care of ourselves and those who’re special to us and will likewise do the same, we’ll be fine.  But there are those who’ll be facing many problems in very big ways because of their selfishness and greed over the years which have created vulnerable islands of quicksand  which will be their self-made demise.”  I drove off believing our encounter was meant to be.

My second happenstance was visiting with a gentleman about some work I needed to have done.  Since I couldn’t reach him by phone, I drove to his workshop.  Not expecting to be there for over an hour, I was shocked to find how late it was when I got into my car.  I was quite taken by his collection of real honest to goodness field stones.  “Where in the world did you find so many?” I said.  “Believe it or not, I drove many times to my father’s farm in eastern Iowa to get them.” he said.  The more I looked at all their different shapes, colors, and sizes, the more I was struck with admiration of his diligent labors. He was quietly surprised how taken I was by his collection since most consider rocks just rocks.

The last highlight was getting a very well built home in a popular neighborhood listed.  It’s a roomy 3 bedroom ranch that has a first floor family room with an attached double garage.  The sellers have been busy for weeks getting it ready for the market, and it shows.  You’ll not find a better home for the money than my new listing located at 1031 – 10th St. NE here in Mason City.  I’m hosting a public open house on it this Saturday morning from 10 – Noon.  I’m confident it’ll sell more sooner than later.  Click on the link to view this handsome ranch that’s close to the pool, park, east-side schools, and shopping.

1031 – 10th St. NE Mason City

Evil Eyes

Evil Eyes-1It’s been just 24 hours since we were pounded by yesterday afternoon’s thunderstorm, and after driving down some of the streets today and seeing all the big limbs and fallen trees, I became all the more thankful it wasn’t any worse than it was.  Someone told me the airport reported winds at 70 miles per hour during that storm, but after looking at the amount of destruction we had, I’d say there must’ve been gusts much stronger than 70 mph.  What I thought to be the strangest was seeing how many branches appeared to have been twisted off.   It’s always been said oak trees are the most storm resistant, but I also noticed some healthy limbs of oak on the ground.  So much for the mighty oaks.

It sounds like we’re supposed to be getting another storm this evening, and I truly hope there won’t be those damaging winds this time around because there’s much time needed to get yesterday’s mess cleaned up before we can begin to face another.  I’m afraid it’s going to be a repeat of yesterday because of how thick the air has been with humidity.

The number of appointments outside my office certainly kept me out in the heat.  I shook my head in disbelief when seeing a handful of young men out running in it.  I guess they must’ve wanted to get really good and dehydrated.  Back a number of years ago when I used to run, I’d never go out in the middle of the day, but rather early in the morning or towards sunset.  Some may like getting fried, but I don’t.

This would be a great evening to spend in one of our City’s parks.  Flowing water and lots of shade would make for a memorable evening.  I could see myself seated on the stone retaining wall in East Park with my shoes off, trousers rolled up, and dangling my feet in the coolness of Willow Creek. I was reminded again today that summer isn’t going to last forever.  Before you know it, we’ll be at the threshold of Fall.

With it already Thursday evening, I’m beginning to wonder where the week went.  Yes, I’ve been exceptionally busy, but it still seems to have gone too fast.  Next week is also going to be hectic with the new listings I’ll have coming on.  At least I’ve got most of the back-end prep work done which is oft times the most time consuming.

Did you know that we have more than just raccoons, opossums, and rats living in our City’s storm sewers?  Most don’t realize that we even have wild cats living down there.  Every once in a great while I’ll spy a cat either crawling up out of one, or dropping back down.  The above photo is of a semi-wild cat who’s taken up residence in one of our City’s storm sewers.  I’ve seen it coming up out of it more than once. It does have evil eyes.

Over a Hundred Years

Over a Hundred Years-1As I was walking out of a home today after the owners’ gave me the full tour, I happily informed them what I believed it would sell for, as well as how quickly it’ll go under contract.  It’s going to be listed in our popular mid-range, and offers nearly everything the average buyer is looking for, as well as being in a popular location.  Hopefully I’ll have it on the market the first of next week.

Another two hours was spent today going over contracts with a seller who’s going to hire me next week to market some real estate he owns.  It’s always good to be as familiar as possible with a given property so I can be fully prepared to intelligently answer any buyer questions.  I believe the key to selling a home is being fully up to speed with its components.  We must remember, every home is special and oft time holds secrets the average person wouldn’t know without taking the time to investigate.

Without having a clue we were going to have a rain storm today, I was out previewing another home and just happened to notice the seller had his television on and they were showing a storm map.  I looked for a moment and asked, “Are we supposed to get a storm?”  “Yes we are.” he replied.  “And it’s supposed to start in about five minutes.”  Oh Mercy!  It wasn’t even five minutes when all hell broke loose.  I looked out to my car and noticed I had my windows cracked.  I knew the seats would be wet when seeing how the wind was creating a hard and driving rain.

While on my way back to the office I noticed the streets were still running deep with water and lots of leaves and small branches scattered about.  Off in the distance I could see some major lightening striking straight down and even more than once.  I was all the more creeped out when I noticed one bolt going straight down and continued another two more times.  Now that is something I’ve never seen.  I can’t imagine what it must’ve hit and how much damage was done.

The farther I drove westward in the City, the more wind damage I was seeing.  Big branches, small trees, twisted limbs still hanging from trees, and lots of leaves and twigs on the streets.  In near disbelief, I drove past a what was once a giant walnut tree that had to be over 100 years old lying flat on the ground with its roots pointing upward.  Now that was scary!

Even all the creepier was having just yesterday talked to a client about how these winds we’ve been getting these past five years are nothing like I’ve ever seen before.  Now after today, we’ve had three major damaging wind storms since Spring arrived.  If anyone says these are normal occurrences for North Iowa, I’d have to say they’re in complete denial.  After seeing that strong and healthy walnut tree of over a hundred years being toppled, I’m fully convinced we’re in uncharted waters with our current weather patterns.